Summit of the Peoples #FueraOMC: Building Sovereignty
Press release Monday, December 11, 2017. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Peoples Summit #FueraOMC today presented its position on the XI Ministerial Conference of the WTO with the presence of activists, peasants, academics and specialists concerned about the advance of commodification and free trade policies.
Javier Echaide, from Confluencia #FueraOMC and ATTAC Argentina, spoke about the reasons that cause the making of Summit of the Peoples in Buenos Aires because of the WTO Ministerial. “Free trade policies generate exclusion in multiple social sectors, and those excluded sectors of the world meet at the People’s Summit,” he said. “Our strategy is the debate, inside and outside the Ministerial. And there is no doubt that the richest debates about the alternatives are taking place outside the official meetings.”
Sergio Arnold, Deputy General Secretary of the Latin American Confederation of State Workers (CLATE) and leader of the CSPB of Brazil, expressed his concerns about the workers: “Free trade generates an impact on the economy that causes the loss of jobs, and the loss of sovereignty that, together with tax evasion, weaken public policies and subject States to international tribunals where the fate of our lives is decided,” said Arnold.
Petter Titland, leader of ATTAC Norway, was deported by the Argentine government of Mauricio Macri and re-entered after pressures exerted by social organizations and the Norwegian government. “I was not looking for this, but I was surprised to be a victim of this measure. This shows the illegitimacy of the WTO to accept critical voices. It is the first time in the history of the WTO that people and NGOs have been silenced for being critical on free trade. And there are still many who still can not participate.”
Yudhvir Singh, Indian peasant and a leader of La Via Campesina, said that his organization will join the social movements of the Summit to expose the devastating effects of the WTO, calling for food sovereignty and calling for WTO to get out of Agriculture. “During these 21 years of struggle against the WTO, the peoples of the world have resisted their attempts to globalize everything, including food systems, in favor of transnational corporations. This week our delegation in Buenos Aires will join the People’s Summit denouncing all governments that, having understood that the WTO has weakened, restored the bilateral and regional mega-free trade agreements that threaten to annihilate our food systems, as the WTO has done for decades.”
Mary Lou Malig, campaigns coordinator of the Global Forest Coalition, from the Philippines and an expert in WTO negotiations, compared the organization’s policies to enclosing sardines with sharks in the same pond. “The WTO is proud to say that its rules are the basis of its organization. Well, those rules are unfair. Rules such as national treatment are unfair, so it has been and will remain so. The function of the WTO dispute settlement can impose economic sanctions on countries that do not follow these rules of injustice. She insisted: “Agriculture has always been a problematic issue in the WTO. That is why a “peace clause” was negotiated 4 years ago in Bali, and its expiration would take place here, in Buenos Aires. Two years ago in Nairobi, an ambiguous paragraph on the Doha Round was drafted. This may be seen as a way to remove any pretense the WTO had to supposedly provide development to developing countries”, she said.
Finally, they called for the participation in the great mobilization to be held tomorrow, Tuesday December 12 at 6pm from the Congress Plaza to the Obelisk to close the activities of the People’s Summit and express no more WTO!
#FueraOMC www.fueraomc.org. Javier Echaide (Confluencia #FueraOMC), Cel: +54 9 11 4023 9299. Ignacio Rodríguez (CLATE), Cel: +54 9 11 5499 5991. Petter Titland (ATTAC Noruega), Cel: +54 9 11 4023 9299. Yudhvir Singh (La Vía Campesina), Cel: +54 9 11 2182 4509. Mary Lou Malig (Global Forest Coalition), Cel: +63 9 18 945 6353.